Home » [Antisteez Desktop Calendar 2012] Jose Mertz | June

[Antisteez Desktop Calendar 2012] Jose Mertz | June

Category: Art|Calendars   Posted by:   on June 1st, 2012

[Antisteez Desktop Calendar 2012] Jose Mertz | June calendars art  mertzjune 1440x900 650x406

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I have known Jose Mertz since the 90′s. That means that over the years, I have had the great pleasure of watching his art blossom and unfold and evolve to greatness. To call him talented is a gross understatement. He is more than that. Some people “do” art. He “lives” art. That takes a certain dedication. It also takes passion. And Jose Mertz embodies these things.
But don’t take my word for it.
Let Jose Mertz show you.
  • ANTISTEEZ: What is art?
Mertz: (Laughs.) This is like asking, ‘Who are you? No, who are you…really?’ It’s very loaded question. I feel like whatever one perceives through human sensation and experience (movement, visual experience, physiological…etc.) and can appreciate can be labeled as ‘art’. It gets objectified most of the time and its truly a abstract word, but anything from the way you eat cereal to how you gracefully remove a blade from it’s holster, or even just laughing can be art.
  • ANTISTEEZ: When did you know that art was for you?
Mertz: I didn’t. I still don’t know if it is. It is one of those things that’s so embedded in my day-to-day life that it’s never a task or a hobby. I “effortlessly work” to see and embody art in all aspects of my life. If I am getting loose on paper, canvas or design, the same mindset and applications are present. Its a practice that bleeds into everything. The key word being ‘practice’. It takes effort every second.
  • ANTISTEEZ: What is your greatest work to date?
Mertz:  My son. Grand Masta – Bodhi Raiden Mertz.
  • ANTISTEEZ: What is the most-exciting moment you have had because of your talent? Rumor has it that you gave some pretty famous rappers some art back in the day. Is this true?
Mertz: (Laughs.) I did! I was at the Maryland Institute at the time and was very hungry to show my work and relate to people. I was at a Roots concert and I walked up to the stage like it wasn’t a big deal and showed my sketchbook to ?uestlove and Black Thought and they showed me mad love. I gave them some artwork of a lobster I drew. It was random as fuck. They got down in my sketchbook, too, which was cool.
  • ANTISTEEZ: What inspires you in the 305? Please feel free to say nalgas.
Mertz: (Laughs.)  Yeah! Well, there is some truth to that! I like saturated colors,the  ocean, car culture, hip-hop lifestyle, art and mural scene, as well as the people, the lingo and the pride.  Miami is its own breed of daily living. (Not the flashy stuff you might see on television.)  I like that people out here have tons of love for their city. It gives a great sense of  community.
  • ANTISTEEZ: The New Times recently ran a story about artist like Friends With You making a move to the West Side in Cali to make money for their art. They said Miami doesn’t pay artists. How do you feel about that? How do you feel about the art scene here in general?
Mertz: Well, honestly I don’t get too many invites for exhibitions out here, so I’m not sure how the market really is. But it makes sense. I get more love overseas then I do in my own hometown! (Yes, I’m a lil’ bit bitter about it. LOL!) But yeah, I think these artists are experiencing the same! Maybe there is a art money drought or maybe people just save their money for Art Basel. I don’t know.
I don’t blame Sam, Tury ( FWY), Alvaro (Freegums), Jen (Stark) and the homie Pres for wanting to leave. People got families and goals to achieve with their craft. If they are getting offers from galleries and have shows lined up from representatives that are really making an effort to sell the work…I salute them!
For artists like these and myself, art is our livelihood. Luckily, I do graphic design, so I make a decent living making T-shirts, ads and album art and working freelance for streetwear brands. But art…well, it’s a bit more complicated.  You might sell a print or a shirt with your original work on it, but even if you do, you might have to sell a significant amount to add up to the amount of one day of work for a logo. That also includes selling a original artwork.
It’s also about integrity. A serious artist doesn’t want to prostitute themselves to make a buck you know? It’s about culture and saying something to your audience, which, with a body of strong work, can gradually raise your value. But it takes time and money to create the work!  Collectors and lovers of art that support financially are key. So, in a nutshell, if the wind is blowing to the West,  then so be it.
  • ANTISTEEZ: How was the photo shoot? What did you like? How does it feel to be one of our famed calender men? Do you feel too sexy for your shirt?
Mertz: (Laughs.)  You’re so funny goobs. I love you, kid! The shoot was fun. I have never drawn with light, so I was learning something new, you know’? I like the idea of making something that cant be grabbed or held in your hands, but still exists in light particles and makes some kind of image. I think it came out pretty fresh, actually! But, maybe if I get more buff I’ll do a Conan the Barbarian themed shoot for the next calendar. (Laughs.)
  • ANTISTEEZ: Lastly…Sharpies or spray paint? Discuss.
Mertz: They both do different shit. Spray paint is great for big-ass lines and fills. But, I love Sharpies, yo! They are great for designs on paper and smaller fills. I use Sharpies way more than spray paint. But hopefully that will change this summer with some walls I have lined up in Wynwood! Yes, there is a Mertz art surprise coming soon!  Stay tuned.
I love you, antisteez! No steez is the illest steez. Know dat.
You an purchase Jose Mertz’s stickers, shirts and prints HERE.

Photos by Harold D. Ruiz


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